Blue Jays' Gibbons: Kids always allowed

Blue Jays' Gibbons: Kids always allowed

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Children of players and team employees will always have a place in the clubhouse for as long as John Gibbons remains manager of the Blue Jays.

Gibbons spoke out in favor of the policy after the White Sox and veteran slugger Adam LaRoche reportedly had a disagreement earlier this week about when kids should have full access to the club's facilities, with LaRoche deciding to retire.

The Blue Jays frequently allow children connected with the team to be in the clubhouse before and after games. Even though that became a somewhat controversial topic this week, Gibbons has no intentions on changing his rules on the subject matter.

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"I encourage it, to let them come in and out, because it's important," Gibbons said. "There is so much time away [from family], that bonding time, but I can see, too, how it can become overwhelming if somebody is around all the time, because teammates might not like it.

"But my kid comes to town, I like him coming out here. I think that's important for the individuals. The other players take care of those kids. I remember when mine were younger, they started coming around, guys like Justin Speier, Scott Schoeneweis, treated them like gold, and they'll never forget that."

Encarnacion back on the field

Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion went through a light round of workouts prior to Thursday afternoon's game against the Canadian Junior Team as he continues to make his way back from a strained oblique muscle.

Encarnacion is not expected to resume hitting until the beginning of next week, but he was on the field Thursday morning and took part in light drills. It's a very small -- but still important step -- on his road to recovery.

"Progress," Gibbons said. "They don't think it's a big deal anyway, and he feels better. That's the report they give me every day. I don't think it will be too much longer, but I don't know that. ... But the fact that he is out there is a pretty good sign."

Stroman starts vs. Minor Leaguers

Toronto right-hander Marcus Stroman allowed three runs -- two earned -- in a Minor League intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon. Stroman, who is expected to begin the year as the Blue Jays' Opening Day starter, surrendered six hits and struck out three without issuing a walk.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.